News

If any members would like to post their publishing-related news on our website or Facebook page, please contact us.

WiPS Festive Dinner 2023

By Daniela Alam

 

“Counting down to our Festive Dinner!” read the WhatsApp group photo caption. Excitement was clearly in the air as WiPS members readied to gather again to celebrate the festive season, an event made impossible during Covid. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club Verandah was the perfect setting for this large and lively group of literary ladies and their books. Green tickets in hand for drinks, Secret Santa gift in tote for swap, and off we were sent to find a seat. Conversations were merry, reunions warm, and introductions a-plenty. One could barely hear the Christmas music playing in the background. Once all had arrived, dinner was swiftly served, and announcements were made – Polly, Rinkoo and Lesley each sharing words of enthusiasm about the programme for next year’s events. Cheers!

What’s a festive dinner without musical chairs? After we’d indulged in our main course, half the table was instructed to swap seats. Every other seat was swapped with some additional swapping and re-swapping as we tried to get it right. More exchanges happened as the goodie bag was passed around, each of us selecting a beautifully wrapped treasure. Further chatting ensued as we gobbled up dessert alongside our new reads. More and more photos were taken as we yelled to the staff, “Zoom in to get the book titles!”

Let the countdown begin to a successful WiPS 2024!

December 7th, 2023|

Hidden & Haunted: Exploring abandoned buildings

By Lesley Hobbs

Sacha Yasumoto is a British-born, Hong Kong-based interior designer, aromatherapist, amateur photographer and urban explorer. Since the start of the global pandemic, she has visited and photographed over 500 abandoned buildings in Hong Kong alone – around 350 of which helped to create her visually stunning coffee table book Loved Then Abandoned 愛逝終棄.

On 26th October, WiPS committee member Lesley Hobbs sat down with Sacha in the Sheung Wan offices of the American Women’s Association of Hong Kong (AWA) to talk about Sacha’s urban exploring (urbex) adventures and her self-publishing journey. After introductions by Lesley, Sacha showed slides from her book and explained the dos and don’ts of urbex. She had so many derring-do stories to tell that it was hard to keep the conversation and Q&A under the allotted ninety minutes. With Halloween only days away, Sacha insisted she had not been visited by a ghost in any of the abandoned buildings, but she still managed to share some spooky moments with her large audience of WiPS members and guests.

These events involved climbing out of broken windows, falling through rotting flooring, exploring a convicted felon’s forfeited mansion the day he was released, and finding out that the owner of an apparently abandoned house was very much alive and well and planning to move back into his property. He did permit Sacha to host one of her “dangerous dinners” before his home was renovated – but that’s a story for when we invite Sacha back to talk about her next book!

Who would have thought that all the trespassing we might have done as children would not only get turned in to an art form but end up with its own 24k+ member Facebook page.

Photo credits: Jayne Russell Photography

November 7th, 2023|

WiPS Newsletter: October 2023

Dear Members,

The slightly cooler weather brings with it the sight of roasted chestnut vendors in our neighbourhoods, and even hints of holly as the city prepares itself for the festive season. As we close out submissions for Imprint 22, we’re looking forward to spending a little more time with you before the year’s end. So, if you’re in the mood for some backseat urban exploring with Hidden & Haunted just in time for Halloween, or you’re more in the spirit of Secret Santa, we hope you’ll join us for one or all of our events in this final quarter as we bid goodbye to 2023!

UPCOMING AND ONGOING EVENTS

Hidden & Haunted
Thursday, 26 October 2023, 6.30pm
Ever wondered about an abandoned building’s past life? Did its crumbling walls whisper “Come inside, take a look; please don’t forget about me.” Then we have the perfect trick or treat alternative for you. Join us at the AWA offices and be part of a derring-do journey with Hong Kong-based designer, photographer and urban explorer Sacha Yasumoto, author of Loved then Abandoned. Hear Sacha in conversation with WiPS member Lesley Hobbs discussing Hong Kong abandoned villages, crumbling Italian palaces and “dangerous dinners”. You won’t want to miss this or the nerve calming glass (or two) of wine.

WiPS Festive Dinner
Wednesday, 29 November 2023, 7pm
It’s October already and the city will soon be giddy with gatherings over glühwein! Before the holiday season is upon us in full force, we invite you to celebrate with fellow WiPS members, as we look back at 2023 in gratitude and forward with hope for all that 2024 is yet to bring! Please join us for an evening of merrymaking and a Secret Santa Book Swap at this year’s celebratory dinner at the FCC. Registration will open from 21 October.

Imprint 22 Launch
We have a large, diverse and exciting collection of submissions for our next issue of Imprint, and editing is well under way! Please mark your calendars for a launch date in early March 2024 during the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. If anyone has missed the deadline, we will consider late submissions where space remains. Please contact caroldyer@netvigator.com.

WiPS Book Club and Writing Workshop
These two regular groups remain very popular, attracting new members and active participation. Our meanderings through the chosen book each month allow us to broaden our literary horizons as we immerse ourselves in other lives, culminating in lively social discussions at the end of each month. This month we are reading Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Ronan Hession. 

The writing workshop goes from strength to strength, with keen participation by group members, both in submitting their work and providing invaluable constructive critique and support for other writers. All writers will find this group educative, supportive and fun. If you are interested in learning more, please visit our website and follow the links. 

RECENT EVENTS

Villepin Gallery Guided Visit
The “Anselm Kiefer: Golden Age” event in August was primarily intended as a social gathering for members and guests braving the humid Hong Kong summer. If you sought confrontational art on a major scale, then Herr Kiefer was your man from the 1960s to 1990s. “A Pandora’s box of fascist and nationalistic imagery”, which he sought to expose and force conversation about, was just one of the monikers attached to the German-born artist’s work. The “Golden Age” pieces displayed by Villepin were more upbeat. Produced from 2020 to 2022, they recall the classical peak of human civilization and the flourishing of peace and prosperity, pointing to hope for the future. The artworks provided much philosophical food for thought, and more conversation, at the Lebanese restaurant later that evening!

Poetry Workshops with Dr Sherryl Clark
In her two workshop classes delivered by Zoom from New Zealand, “Making Poems: The Main Elements”, which explained the essentials of poetry writing, and “Strategies for Revising a Poem”, which focused on how to revise and perfect a poem, Dr Clark provided a thorough look at the process of poetry writing from first draft to polished final version. Dr Clark is a seasoned poet and teacher, and those who attended her classes live or through the recordings (available for 7 days after each event) benefited enormously from her wealth of experience. She was informative and full of advice, and catered both to novice and to published poets, as well to those wanting to increase their enjoyment of reading poetry. Watch out for some new and reinvigorated WiPS poets in Imprint 22!

Following the workshops, Jenny Eagleton kindly offered her help to any participants whose poems were still works in progress and needed refinement before submission.

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL
We would like to advise members that membership renewal notices for 2024 will be sent out in mid-November. We hope you will all wish to continue to support WiPS by remaining in and contributing to the group. Subscription fees will remain the same and are due by the end of December 2023.

NEW MEMBERS
A warm welcome to our five new members who have joined since August: Sarah Rigby, Holly Sykes, Natalie Wong, Sarah Huda and Michelle Tanmizi.

KAY ROSS, FORMER WiPS PRESIDENT
Kay was born in Scotland and grew up in Australia, from where her adventurous spirit led her to Hong Kong in 1993. With a background in arts and tourism administration and marketing, she took on the position of “listings editor” at the SCMP, working there for six years before forming her own company as an Editor/Copywriter and Personal Development Facilitator, Tedx Speaker and Applied Improvisation Trainer. Kay led us into the millennium as WiPS President, and after stepping down, she continued to support us until her recent death on 30 September 2023. She is deeply missed and mourned by us all.

With our best wishes
Your WiPS Committee

October 15th, 2023|

“Poetry for All”: Reading and Writing Poetry

By Susan Lavender

 

Dr Sherryl Clark, long-time writing teacher at Victoria University Polytechnic in Melbourne and the winner of the 2022 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for children’s literature (for her verse novel Mina and the Whole Wide World), is a seasoned poet. Those who attended her two Zoom workshop poetry classes benefited from her wealth of experience. For those who had signed up but were unable to attend the events live, recordings of both sessions were made available for seven days after each event.

The first class, “Making Poems: The Main Elements”, explained the essentials of poetry writing. Dr Clark dealt with various forms of poems from blank verse to intricate forms like the villanelle. Examples of poems, reference books, anthologies and internet resources for obtaining poetry prompts were also provided. Participants were asked to write a poem during the class on a suggested theme and other themes were given for poems to be sent in before the following class.

The second class, “Strategies for Revising a Poem”, focused on how to revise and perfect a poem. While delving deeper into the study of poetry forms, among other topics, Dr Clark covered rhyme (straight rhyme and half rhyme), rhythm through scanning (scansion) to identify the metre of a poem’s stressed and unstressed syllables, identifying the “voice” of a poem, the use of tense, qualifiers and line breaks and how to manage various drafts of a poem. Example poems, written by participants, were used to make suggestions and to give practical illustrations of the revision process.

The two classes provided a thorough look at the process of poetry writing from first draft to polished final version. They were very informative and useful both for novice poets, who had not previously attempted poetry writing, as well as for published poets and everyone in between. Our many thanks to Sherryl Clark!

October 8th, 2023|

“Anselm Kiefer: Golden Age” – Villepin guided visit

By Carol Dyer

 

Confrontational art on a major scale! One marvels at Kiefer’s concept, enterprise and industrial skill.

It’s a long time since WiPS organized an event at an art gallery. The last (also on Hollywood Road) was to learn about antique maps, which of course embrace an element of publishing. The Anselm Kiefer event, arranged in August when WiPS is traditionally “in recess”, was primarily intended as a social gathering for members and guests left in Hong Kong and wilting in its heat.

Entered through a magnificent pair of rustic Chinese doors, the Villepin gallery was blissfully cool, a sensation accentuated by its ultra-white walls and staircase, providing a contrasting backdrop for Kiefer’s striking compositions.

Regarded as one of the most important – if polarizing – artists working today, Anselm Kiefer was born in Germany towards the end of the Second World War. He knew from childhood that he wanted to paint and after studying and working in Germany until the early 1990s, he moved to France where he established a 200-acre studio compound. Most of his works until this time deal with subjects drawn from Germany and its culture and have been referred to as “a Pandora’s box of fascist and nationalistic imagery” portraying the unrelenting cycles of history, and of creation and destruction.

The pieces displayed by Villepin are recent, produced from 2020 to 2022. The more upbeat title “Golden Age” recalls the classical peak of human civilization and the flourishing of peace and prosperity, pointing to hope for the future. The artworks themselves are certainly golden, but they are nonetheless philosophically challenging!

Supper that followed at a nearby Middle Eastern restaurant offered a convivial milieu for debate. How lucky we are in Hong Kong at times!

 

Exhibition closes 17 September 2023.

August 31st, 2023|

WiPS Newsletter: July 2023

Welcome to our Summer newsletter! If you’ve stayed back in the city, you’re probably keeping cool indoors away from the heat and humidity that is July in Hong Kong! Whether you’re working on your Imprint 22 submission or immersing yourself in your summer reads, we hope you’ll take a break and note the exciting events we’ve lined up for the rest of this year. From a gallery visit and poetry workshops to a yet-to-be confirmed author event and a festive gathering, there’s something for everyone!

Upcoming Event: Gallery Visit to Anselm Kiefer: Golden Age
Wednesday, 16 August 2023, 6pm
Join us for a WiPS-exclusive guided visit to this exhibition at the Villepin Gallery, Central [https://www.villepinart.com/] where world-renowned German artist Anselm Kiefer explores the utopian ideal of human civilization with works that evoke the mythology and nostalgia of the ancient “Golden Age”. Born in Germany in 1945, shortly before the end of the Second World War, Kiefer has directed his artistic focus on historical, often controversial, themes. Featuring a large-scale installation and monumental paintings created between 2020 and 2022, the “Golden Age” exhibition offers a dazzling demonstration of Kiefer’s probing creativity. This is a novel opportunity for WiPS members and guests to gather at a summer art event, followed by an optional self-pay dinner nearby.

Upcoming Event: Poetry for All
Back by popular demand, Sherryl Clark will run two new creative training classes in late September and early October. Designed for poets, would-be poets and those who enjoy reading poetry, these workshop classes will be held by Zoom at 10 am on Saturday, 23 September and Saturday, 7 October. As previously, Sherryl’s events will be recorded and available for 7 days for all who register. Sherryl is a prolific writer of poetry and an experienced teacher. She has two collections of poetry published in Australia and recently won a Prime Minister’s Literary Award for her children’s verse novel Mina and the Whole Wide World, published by University of Queensland Press. More details of class content to follow.

Upcoming Event: Winter Holiday Season Dinner at the FCC
We know it’s still only summer, but the WiPS committee is looking ahead to celebrate the year with our members. Watch out for more information on our festive dinner planned for late November!

Ongoing Event: WiPS Monthly Book Club
Running for a year and a half now, Book Club has a core group of very active members and “semi-regulars” who pop by when they can. Our July meeting is set for Thursday, 31 July at 7pm HK time, when we will discuss “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” by Shehan Karunatilaka. Join us (members free / non-members HK$80 per session). Register at https://www.hkwips.com/events/.

Ongoing Event: Writing Workshops
WiPS members have now been sharing their writings with each other on an unbroken monthly basis since April 2022. These 2-hour online interactive workshops have become highlights of our eager participants’ calendar. We operate a min/max 4 to 8 submissions per workshop and since inception have never had fewer than five pieces. Regular submissions (max 2,000 words) must be submitted 4 days in advance and the one (per month) long piece (max 5,000 words) 7 days in advance. Only WiPS members can submit a long piece, which is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. So, who is putting their inspired fiction or non-fiction writing hand up for 4th August?!

RECENT EVENTS

Did You Read the Small Print?
On 9 May, courtesy of leading Hong Kong law firm Oldham, Li & Nie [https://oln-law.com/], WiPS members learned what not to do when it comes to publishing contracts and copyright. Copyright to manuscripts lasts 50 years after the author’s death. Copyright to original works can be established simply and cheaply via Hongkong Post and a sealed envelope. Book titles are not exclusive to anyone but for marketing purposes it pays to be original. With literary competitions, you must remember you’ll be bound by the contest organizer’s terms and conditions, which you signed on entry. By the end of the evening, the first-time and not yet published writers amongst us understood that the publisher holds a lot of the contractual power and so we should only work with the reputable players. https://www.hkwips.com/2023/did-you-read-the-small-print/

A Rare Treat
Not quite witchcraft and wizardry, but there’s definitely some magic in old books. In June, seven WiPS members gathered at Lok Man Rare Books [http://www.lokmanbooks.com/] to learn about the entrancing world of antique volumes. If you’re looking for a unique present for that special someone or wish to treat yourself to a collector’s edition of your favourite novel, Lok Man is just the place for you. https://www.hkwips.com/2023/hidden-gem-in-a-bustling-alleyway/

AND FINALLY…

New Members
A warm welcome to our three new members who have joined since April: Daniela Alam, Do Do Chan and Jenny Chang.

Refer a Friend
Current members who successfully refer someone to join WiPS will be offered free entry to one event (up to $200). Remind your friends to let us know by emailing wipshk@gmail.com that it’s you who encouraged them to become a member.

Imprint 22
We eagerly await members’ contributions to the next issue of Imprint. The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2023 for a launch in early March 2024, so please start writing or refining your best work! We ask members kindly to respect the deadline as we cannot guarantee inclusion of late submissions. If you would like to submit work early, we will be pleased to receive it. If you wish to submit more than one poem, please send the pieces in one file only with a collective title. We can accommodate up to only 120 lines (including stanza breaks) in the section from each poet, especially if you are also submitting prose and/or artwork. Please see https://www.hkwips.com/imprint/ for other guidelines.

Valery Garrett
WiPS is sad to report the death earlier this year of Valery Garrett, a former committee member. Born in Britain in 1942, Valery lived in Hong Kong from 1973 onwards, and from her early interest in traditional dress worn in Hong Kong in the 1970s, she became an acknowledged authority on Chinese dress and accessories. Over 250 items from her collection were acquired and exhibited by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for their permanent collection. A fashion designer turned full-time freelance writer, she specialized in Chinese culture and travel, especially of Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Valery was the author of eleven highly regarded internationally published books.

With our best wishes
Your WiPS Committee

July 22nd, 2023|
Go to Top